What’s next: New restrictions for returning Aussies

 

 

AUSTRALIANS returning from overseas may face delays or denied entry as the Morrison Government seeks to stop the hotel quarantine system from being overwhelmed.

The move comes after holes in Victoria's system were blamed for helping spread a second wave of infections and state governments started baulking at paying for hotel quarantines.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed he would take a plan to contain international arrivals to National Cabinet on Friday and said he would have "no objection" to states billing people for their 14-day hotel stays.

Australia’s international airports could become even emptier if National Cabinet approves a plan to restrict the number of Australians allowed to return from overseas. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Australia’s international airports could become even emptier if National Cabinet approves a plan to restrict the number of Australians allowed to return from overseas. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

"There's been many opportunities for people to return," he said.

"If they're choosing to do so now, they have obviously delayed that decision for a period."

Mr Morrison said the spike in community transmissions in Victoria showed there were "no guarantees in a global pandemic" and welcomed the state's move to effectively "self isolate" from the rest of the country.

Victoria recorded 134 new infections on Wednesday as about five million residents were placed under stage three restrictions from midnight just a day after the state's border with New South Wales closed for the first time in 100 years.

The border between New South Wales and Victoria closed for the first time in 100 years as about five million Melburnians prepared to go back into stage three lockdowns. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon Dallinger
The border between New South Wales and Victoria closed for the first time in 100 years as about five million Melburnians prepared to go back into stage three lockdowns. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon Dallinger

"This is about Victoria isolating itself, not other states shutting itself off from Victoria and there is a key difference in that," Mr Morrison said.

He urged the other states and territories not to close their borders in response to the Victorian spike and said there were no plans or health advice to reimpose national restrictions.

"Let's remember that seven states and territories around the country remain in a very strong position when it comes to our response to COVID-19," he said.

His comments came as there were signs the Victorian outbreak had spread across borders with new diagnoses reported in New South Wales and the ACT linked to the nation's second largest state.

Queensland recorded another day with no new infections yesterday and had just two active cases in the state.

Deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth said all states were on "very high alert" for new cases following the surge in Victoria and the ACT recording its first three cases in a month.

He said reimposing restrictions on Victoria was a "difficult thing to do" but it was a "national and shared problem".

Victoria’s strict lockdown to help overcome a second wave of coronavirus infections is a shared problem. (Photo by David Gray/Getty Images)
Victoria’s strict lockdown to help overcome a second wave of coronavirus infections is a shared problem. (Photo by David Gray/Getty Images)

"This is clearly harder the second time around when only a short time ago we were lifting restrictions, when other parts of Australia are still lifting restrictions," he said.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also revealed the government was considering fast-tracking the next stage of tax cuts, due in July 2022, in a bid to boost the struggling economy.

"We are looking at that issue, and the timing of those tax cuts, because we do want to boost aggregate demand, boost consumption, put more money in people's pockets, and that is one way to do it," he told ABC radio.

Originally published as What's next: New restrictions for returning Aussies



Road crash rescue heroes up to speed on modern vehicles

Premium Content Road crash rescue heroes up to speed on modern vehicles

Crews are training to keep up to date with vehicle technology

Contractor fined for illegal renovations at holiday home

Premium Content Contractor fined for illegal renovations at holiday home

The East Ballina property was renovated without permission in 2019

Grand plan to get tourists back to the Northern Rivers

Premium Content Grand plan to get tourists back to the Northern Rivers

Councils, businesses and stakeholders are banding together